Summer is here, and bicycling is on the upswing. Older adults often find benefits to bicycling as a form of transportation and exercise, such as being gentle on the joints and allowing one to cover more ground than walking. In addition, newly popular E-bikes have battery-powered motors that allow you to go 20 miles an hour or more. E-bikes do some of the work for you, which means you may feel more comfortable going greater distances or up more challenging hills than you would otherwise — possibly letting you keep up with a group or partner who is faster.
Whether you ride a traditional bicycle or an E-bike, it’s important to abide by bike safety recommendations. And because e-bikes can be heavier and operated at a faster speed than traditional bikes, they also come with unique risks. Remember to:
- Always wear a helmet. Helmets should fall slightly above your eyebrows. and feel snug — you shouldn’t be able to fit more than two fingers under your chin strap when buckled.
- Use tools such as reflective gear and front and rear lights to increase visibility.
- Think about where you want to bike, and use bike paths, bike lanes or streets that allow you to avoid heavy traffic. Check your local laws to make sure e-bikes are allowed on bike paths.
- Always bike in the direction of traffic. Don’t suddenly change direction or forget to signal, as a driver may not anticipate your movement.
- Enhance your riding confidence. If you want to brush up on your bike skills, look for a local class offered by your local bike store or the League of American Bicyclists.
- Start out slowly. Remember that cars might misjudge how fast an e-bike can go. Faster speeds mean it will take longer for you to brake. Try using the least electric assist to start and work your way up.
Talk to others about how you stay fit in a safe way at the Healthy Living group.
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